There is a huge misconception generally held by women looking to learn to kitesurf that you have to be very strong or at least have some upper body strength to hold the kite in the air. I often hear this given as a reason (or excuse) for not even taking that first step and taking their first kitesurf lesson. In my opinion this is one of the main reasons that the number of women partaking in the sport is so low, thankfully, it is now starting to increase. However the simple truth remains, this is a lie and its a whopper, and here's why.
I have seen people from the age of 5 up to 85 learn to kitesurf and have a great time riding and most of them aren't particularly fit or strong before they start. The actual truth is that Kitesurfing requires very little in the way of upper body strength.
Many see the fact that you are controlling the kite with the bar and assume that you need the upper body strength to hold down the full power of the kite with just your arms. If that were true I'd now have arms like Schwarzenegger, unfortunately for me (and my girlfriend!) I don't. Because you are attached to the kite by way of a harness most of the pull of the kite is delivered through your core...great for toning up those abs (but again not requiring a 6 pack to handle!). This means that the whole weight of your body is counterbalancing the pull of the kite and it is simply by leaning back that you control this power. This reduces the pressure on the bar and thus your arms and upper body to practically zero..in fact you can fly the kite with one finger of each hand..easily.
Compared to a sport like windsurfing or even snowboarding or skiing the level of fitness and body strength required to learn to kitesurf and then actually get out on the water and do it, is a lot less. Of course once your up and riding you can control exactly how much effort you put and it can become an extremely physical sport...if you want it to be. On the flip side I have seen 85 year old grandma's cruising up and down all day with no problems.
So if you've always fancied getting in to kitesurfing but always thought it looked a little too physical then maybe now's the time to put it to the test and actually find out. The sport needs a great many more female ambassadors and there are some great opportunities for women inside the kitesurfing world at the moment because of the low number of female participants and the relative infancy of the sport. So go on give it a go, you'll be surprised how easy it is to learn to kitesurf!
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